Practice Safe Scents: How to Use Fragrances/Colognes

It is said that 50% of the perfume is lost in the air when sprayed. When people follow the advice of some fragrance gurus to spray it an arm’s length, they will end up with an empty bottle, quickly.


You are being  told, quite literally, to waste your hard-earned money.  This also applies to those that spray up a cloud in front of them, and walk then through the mist.The point of the perfume is for it to go on you. Spray close to your skin, around 10-15  cm/4-6 inches away, and if it comes off as too strong, use less sprays than usual. Simple. Make the most out of your liquid  investment.

How Many Sprays

Perfume is a waste if noone can smell it; however, over-spraying can be as offensive as body odour, no matter how amazing the scent is.I tend to go with 4 sprays, for most of my fragrances. I often deviate to 2 or 3 for my heavy scents like Spicebomb by Viktor and Rolf, and 6 for light stuff like Bvlgari Aqva. An ideal range for the number of perfume sprays is 2-6  sprays.  Several factors dictate the amount of sprays that is appropriate:

The Potency of the Fragrance

The strength of individual perfumes varies greatly. The two main points are the concentration (more on that in the upcoming “Fragrance “Terminology” article) and the composition. For now, understand that eau de parfum(EDP) has a higher concentration of aromatic oils, where as eau de toilette (EDT) has less. That translates to the user needing less pumps from an EDP than from EDT to achieve the same effect. Usually.

The composition of the fragrance is also of importance, robust colognes containing notes like incense, spices, and oud/agarwood, such as Amouage’s Epic Man, are by nature more potent and in-your-face. Heavy hitters warrant a light trigger finger. Conversely, fruity fragrances, citrics, and aquatics like Versace’s Man Eau Fraiche, tend to be more light and easygoing, making them difficult to offend, even if over-applied.

The Social Context

In big, open areas where your fragrance could be overshadowed by more prominent odours, such as in clubs or the outdoors, it’s justified to go a little heavier on the trigger. In the opposite circumstance, a social engagement in a small and closed environment, like at a family dinner or a movie date where people will be close to you for a long time, it might be better to hold back. There’s no fun if everyone’s choked out of consciousness.

The Weather

Fragrances tend to radiate more on warm days; hot bodies can make even light scents project strongly; in contrast, the cold weather and the extra clothes that come with those chilly days, tend to muffle fragrances. It might be a good idea to up the amount of the sprays.

spray perfume

Where to Apply Colognes/Fragrances

The Great Coco Chanel once eloquently said something along the lines of “a woman should wear perfume wherever she wants to be kissed”. If that were the case for men, I’m pretty sure we would focus our sprays in on only one zone. But on a more serious note, there are certain locations on the body that optimize fragrances’ effects. These are the areas where blood flows closest to the surface of the skin, where the pulse may be felt.

Pictured below, are some of the pulse points:

Pulse points.png

Translated into English, these hot-spots are:

  • The throat (carotid artery)
  • The sides of the neck (carotid  artery)
  • The nape (back of neck)
  • Below the earlobes
  • The inside of the wrist (radial artery)
  • The crook of the elbow (brachial artery)
  • The chest
  • Stomach
  • The groin region (femoral artery)
  • Behind the knees (poplitel artery)
  • Behind the ankles (posterior tibial artery)
  • Top of the foot (dorsalis pedis artery)

In a practical sense, it’s silly for someone to spray their face, or their ankles and feet, for that matter. It could make sense if someone in the relationship has a foot fetish, I imagine. The point, is to learn how to take advantage of the blood’s heat to accentuate the cologne.

Rubbing wrist

Regarding the wrists, after spraying them, do not rub them together to distribute the fragrance. Gently dab and blot your wrists together. Friction will only bruise the aromatic compounds, much like shaking a martini with ice will bruise gin, effectively damaging your alcoholic concoction. Sorry to break it to you Mr. Bond,but you’ve ordering your martinis wrong all this time.

Tip: fragrances last longer on moisturized skin (make your fragrance last longer here)

As for me, I usually do my four sprays year-round. I apply one spray each on my chest, both sides of my neck, and the nape. I don’t spray on my wrists because I wash my hands frequently, and I like to wear long sleeved shirts. As you get familiar with your fragrances, you’ll figure out what works  best for you.

Thank you for reading Principles of Style. I hope you enjoy this post and found the blog useful. If you have any questions, feedback, or want to share some of your style and scent tips, tricks, and insights, please leave your input in the comments section below, or send me a PM.

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